Since having his world title reign truncated at the hands of Josh Taylor, Regis Prograis had successfully dusted himself off and worked his way back up the super lightweight mountain. Following three consecutive victories against fringe contenders, the now 34-year-old earned another crack at a golden ticket, something he would take full advantage of.
On November 26th in Carson, California, Prograis registered an 11th-round stoppage victory over Jose Zepeda, crowning himself as a WBC champion in the process. By and large, most prognosticators consider the New Orleans native as either the best or at worst, the second-best fighter in his division.
Nevertheless, as Richardson Hitchins continues to solidify himself as an up-and-coming contender, he admits that Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs) is firmly on his radar. All in all, while he acknowledges that the newly minted titlist is a force to be reckoned with, he doesn't view Prograis as one of the more skillful 140-pounders around.
“I don’t think he’s physically special,” said Hitchins to BoxingScene.com. “He’s special as far as punching power. Mentally he’s a gritty fighter. Talent-wise and IQ-wise, I don’t think he’s special. He’s one of those guys who had to work to get it. He worked to get there. You gotta respect it at the end of the day.”
Hitchins, 25, made it two wins in a row since inking a promotional pact with Matchroom Boxing and promoter Eddie Hearn. In his most recent outing, the former 2016 Olympian pitched a shutout against John Bauza. With more and more fanfare being attached to his name, Hitchins (16-0, 7 KOs) is convinced that it’s only a matter of time until he’s presented with a world title opportunity.
If his shot on the big stage just so happens to come against Prograis, Hitchins won’t eschew the hard-hitting star. In fact, according to the highly ranked contender, not only does he believe that he’s prepared for a world title crack but as he analyzes the overall game of Prograis, Hitchins concludes that he’s far and away better than the newly crowned champion.
“Regis Prograis, I don’t think he’s on my level. He’ll get in there with me and be f----- up. He’ll be looking for one big punch trying to knock me out. I’m not somebody that can’t take a punch. I been doing this for a long time. I’m not worried about getting hit with no power shot.”